How to Accent Figure in Tiger Maple


I have some beautiful Tiger Maple that I would like to accentuate the figure of -- see BSR5GN on this site to see what I'm after http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpages/tigermaple (e).html
I have purchased Honey Amber, Golden Brown and Mission Brown TransTint dyes. I have mixed these dyes at ~ 1 tsp/10oz of water. All are way too dark when applied for the effect I want. I would appreciate some tips on how to get the light colored finish with the highlights depicted in the above referenced site.
Is it a matter of further diluting the dye, sanding most of it off ????
Some guidance would be appreciated
Dave
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Either/or/or both. If it's hard maple, mix a half strength golden and honey and take a look at what you get after a rag coat and 320 setup sand. If soft, mix at closer to 1/4 strength.
I shellac after, rather than add any amber color from the oil.
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Old-time gun makers would wave flame over tiger maple, darkening (actually caramelizing the sugar in) the growth rings and really popping out the grain. Works great with a small propane torch. I'd recommending trying it on a scrap first, though...
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI

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jds says...

It doesn't look to me like those guitars were stained. Figure is enhanced by a high luster finish. If your finish is clear, smooth, and glossy, the figure will jump out. A nicely planed, scraped or sanded surface will show figure very well without any finish at all. Just prepare your stock for finishing carefully and use whatever high luster finish you want. Note that high luster does not necessarily mean high gloss, though high gloss will help. An oil finish can add luster without filling the pores or building up a thick film.
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jds wrote:

I suggest going with no dye at all. I recently finished a jewelry box for my wife with a similar figure, using the following technique. After sanding to 320, flood the entire piece with boiled linseed oil to pop the grain. Let it sit for 20-25 minutes, then wipe with a clean cotton cloth--old T-shirts work well. Let it dry for at least a week, then use the finish of choice. I used blonde shellac, but an amber would deepen the piece just a bit. Experiment on a piece of scrap first. (The late, great Paul Radovanic said that if you don't experiment on scrap you'll be doing it on the project) The first coat should be a "light" cut, maybe one pound or even less, to soak, then thicker coats, the more the better. You'll sand with 400 or steel wool with 0000 between coats, of course. As an alternative, use Bulls-Eye shellac in a can. Good stuff. Shellac is tricky on large pieces since it dries so fast that it can crinkle a bit, but that's easy to sand away. Heavier cuts are a bit easier to finish. Watch for runs and use a good bristle brush. See either Flexner's or Dresdner's books for tips. If you want a picture of the jewelry box, email me.
Bob Schmall
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I finished a desk with a wash of 1/3 sweet gum turpentine (not mineral spirits or thinner) 1/3 3# cut shellac, and 1/3 tung. It lit up the flames and waves like the wood was on fire. BTW, I go that recipe here many years ago.
I now have tried changing out the tung for BLO, and have liked on some pieces as it gives it a more amber glow. This is very forgiving, and the measurements don't need to be exact.
After experimenting further, I can creat the appearance you are after with 50% sweet gum turps and 50% 3# shellac. I don't know why, but just cutting the shellac with 100% denatured alcohol doesn't seem to give the penetration as this kind of turnpentine. Apply, wait a few hours, light sand, apply, and sand for final finish.
Put this stuff on, let it cure out (you can also build this stuff!), then put on a few coats of your favorite lacquer, and you are there. I have put shellac, varnish, and poly over many recipes of this brew with no problem at all. In fact, it even makes a good prefinish conditioner.
I agree with the above comments on the prep. If the wood is so smooth you are reluctant to put a finish on it, then it will "light up" properly. Without proper prep, it will be mediocre at best.
Robert
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I have been in many paint stores over the years and I don't recall seeing a "sweet gum" turpentine.
Where and what brand are you buying ???
Being from N.C., I recall turpentine being made from pine trees back in the last century. I wouldn't guess what it is made from now.(apparently still from pine trees)
http://www.longleafalliance.org/teachers/teacherkit/turpentine.htm
http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/t1/turpentn.asp
A sweet gum tree is not a conifer to my knowledge.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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Maybe pure gum turpentine? As opposed to something synthetic which sorta works like turps?
Patriarch
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On Thu, 12 May 2005 19:17:21 GMT, Pat Barber

"Turpentine" can be made from any tree with enough resin in it. Named turpentines are made from specific species (Venice turpentine is larch).
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Absolutely. Any resinous tree will make some kind of turpentine. The stuff I bought I found at a local hardware store after a little searching, and it was in a metal quart can with long needle pine branches on it.
Here in the south a lot of the old timer still call any kind of resinous pine that gums up your blades, sandpaper, and resists finish "some kind of gummy" pine. The sweet gum pine designation is to acknowledge the fact that they had more than one kind of pine tree in the brewing and didn't necessarily know what they were.
I opened this stuff up, and instantly I remembered it from helping my Dad cleaning up the brushes and wiping down projects before painting them 35 years ago. This stuff is aromatic (this was actually balsamic turpentine indicating it was made from firs, not pine) and smells like pine trees with a shot of vodka. Very distinctive.
I remember smelling the petroleum based stuff when it came on the market about 25 or so years ago when I was on a commercial job. It smelled like thinned lamp oil and the painters hated it, but it was so much cheaper than real turpentine their boss bought only the cheap stuff.
As far as the brand name, I don't have it. I have a little of my brew left but the can is long gone. However, more than you wanted to know about this stuff is here:
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthguidelines/turpentine/recognition.html
For sale here:
http://www.dickblick.com/zz010/10 /
Just GOOGLE "gum turpentine" and you will find plenty of exact hits. Many luthiers still use this for superior finish as opposed to working with the petroleum stuff.
Robert
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On 12 May 2005 23:23:56 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Back in the late 40's , my Dad would always stop at the hardware store on the way to work on his boat. They had a tank of turps outside and empty whiskey bottles. They would sell turps by the 5th.
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out articles on the subject such as:
Issue 135 Jeff Jewitt on bringing out the curl in curly maple Isue 163 Teri Masachi - Three finishes for bird's eye maple - This is a very good article.
There are any number of other sources such as books by Flexner and Jewitt.
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